Oncology Simulators for Groote Schuur and Tygerberg
The acquisition of these state-of-the-art equipment will contribute to easing the burdens in the treatment of cancer in the Radiation Oncology units at Groote Schuur and Tygerberg Hospital.
What is an Oncology Simulator? A brief summary of the virtual simulator is that it is a powerful computer that takes CT-scan images of the patient and "reconstructs "the patient electronically. This allows the oncologists to study the scans in detail without the patient lying on the scan bed for long periods of time. The digital simulator is similar in design to the virtual simulator to the treatment units and is used to simulate the beams that will be used to treat the cancer. Certain tumours can be quickly and accurately located by this technique. The simulator is also used to verify treatment plans on the patient, with the taking of x-rays to check on the size and localisation of the various beams planned in the treatment of that specific patient.
The simulators were purchased from the approximately R42 million provided in year 2 of the special medical equipment fund as arranged by the Western Cape Department of Health. Urgent representations by the department lead to funds being released by Treasury to speed up the equipment replacement. Initially R126m was committed over 3 years. This fund was initiated during the 2003-2004 financial year, as a means to address the very significant shortfall of clinical equipment in the Western Cape.
At the announcement in Groote Schuur Hospital's Klein Schuur, Pierre Uys, MEC for Health said a "day like this is to be celebrated."
"The machines will not only be used to treat patients but is critical in planning the treatment," he added.
Prof. Raymond Abratt, Groote Schuur Hospital's head of radiation oncology said the department "seeks to be responsive to the needs of communities." Abratt described the new equipment as the "cornerstone of a quality control programme" in radiation oncology. "The equipment will also cure many of our patients where the tumours are more extensive, but localised," he added.